While there are plenty of Regency authors out there, the lovely Julie Klassen is by far one of the top and a must read for fans of Austen/Brontë style and prose. Klassen’s latest, The Secret of Pembrooke Park has a touch of both – the mystery of Brontë and the fun of Austen. So, yep, a read I recommend!
Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll’s house left mid-play…
The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor’s past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.
This catches Abigail’s attention. Hoping to restore her family’s finances–and her dowry–Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn’t the only one secretly searching the house.
Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.
As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks…or very real danger?
“Love without fear…” Miss Foster murmured, considering the notion. “It doesn’t sound very practical, I’m afraid. For the more one loves, the more one has to fear losing.”
He looked at her, a grin tugging his mouth. “Impractical, maybe. Difficult, yes. But what a beautiful way to live.”
This was an absolute delightful read! I loved the mystery, the characters and the development. Klassen has such a talent for hooking you from the early pages and she’s one I know I won’t stop reading until I’m done, so good thing I started on a day I could do that :).
One of my favorite aspects about this particular novel is the array of dynamic and wonderful characters. I couldn’t pick a favorite, there’s too many. The story has a fabulous ending, but I liked that every single thing wasn’t wrapped up nicely either for every single character. I think you’ll agree once you read it.
As I mentioned, I loved the mystery of everything and how it all panned out. I didn’t see most of it coming and what’s better than being surprised by the author? Characters were still able to surprise me through the very end and I wish Pembrooke was real and I could go visit. With themes of friendship, value, worth, courage and love (all kinds), this was a fabulous way to kick off 2015 reading!
Do any of your favorite authors have new books coming out soon?
(Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)